Bad Drug Movies We Love

Bad Drug Movies We Love - Page 3

By Joe Lynch 07/01/11

From Requiem, Trainspotting and Scarface to Drugstore Cowboy, Goodfellas and Boogie Nights, we all know the great films featuring drug abuse. That’s why we came up with a list of the less-than-greats that still hold a place in our hearts.

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Blow (2011)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ray Liotta

What it’s about: Another entry in the “rise-and-fall of a drug lord” film genre, Blow focuses on the real-life story of George Jung (Depp), who organized cocaine trafficking in the U.S. during the Disco Era.

Level of realism: At times it seems like a fairly honest view of the self-centered, greedy Jung, but the questionable ending seems to invite us to feel sorry for the man who helped flood America with cocaine. Ahem—um, no. 

Why we love it: Half the fun is seeing the fashion evolution of Depp. Early in the movie, he has a blonde Monkees-styled cut. By the time he meets Cruz for their bizarre S&M montage, he looks like Fabio. And by the end of the movie, it looks like you could lift that grungy Rod Stewart wig off of his head with your pinkie.

54 (1998)

Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Neve Campbell, Salma Hayek, Mike Myers

What it’s about: How Steve Rubell (Mike Myers, in a rare acting role) created the legendary Studio 54, New York’s “center-of-the-universe” club during the Disco Era. 

Level of realism: Not a ton. Much of the drug use here is incidental: it comes and goes without exploring what it actually does. Characters do pills and cocaine but no one (aside from a very elderly woman clubber) seems to pay the price. At least until the IRS comes. So apparently you can escape addiction easier than the government?

Why we love it: It comes across as a cheesier Boogie Nights. With all the gratuitous sex and shirtless male “customer service” at the club, the movie seems more interested in titillation than substance. Perhaps in that way, it’s a perfect summary of Studio 54?

Joe Lynch grew up in Saint Paul, MN, and is now yet another writer living in Brooklyn. You can find his writing in Entertainment Weekly, Yahoo TV and New York Magazine's Vulture. He previously wrote about Intervention for The Fix.

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Joe Lynch is a freelance journalist and the Senior Editor at Billboard. You can find his writing in Entertainment Weekly, Yahoo TV and New York Magazine's Vulture. He previously wrote about Intervention for The Fix. You can find Joe on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.

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